I have quite a collection of corset ads from the backs of Delineator and Ladies’ Home Journal — but it’s just a sampling. Nevertheless, there seems to be a continuing message from advertisers to women, and that message is, “There is something wrong with your body.” In addition to being re-shaped, it needs to be “improved” and “confined.”
This is a selection of corset and padding advertisements from just one source, Delineator magazine.
1907: S-Bend and Padding
Although that ad didn’t sell padding, it shows the nearly-impossible ideal figure of 1907.
A chic figure might well require some padding, as well as distortion and an unnatural posture:[Note: The H & H “before” image shows a normal, youthful figure…. There is nothing “wrong” with it.]
“When Nature Slips a Link, Art Steps In. Don’t be Ungracefully Slender a Day Longer….”
And although these figures were presented as ideal…
… it was always possible to have too much of a good thing:
This ad for a Sahlin Perfect Form corset for slender women seemed to offer a less restrictive garment than those which depended on tight-lacing…
… but on closer inspection, what it really offers the slender woman is a curved, boned bodice which produces the effect of a larger, “stylish high bust” without padding.
1910 Corsets: Straightening Out Some of Those Curves
In contrast to an artificially tiny waist, a full bust was encouraged.
The disappearance of the 1907 sway-back style left some manufacturers off balance:
If your breasts were in danger of overflowing your corset top, a “confiner” could be stitched to the corset:
These corsets are very long.
Above: The corset was moving down, over the thighs, but in 1910 it still offered some bust support.
To emphasize the change in corset shapes from 1907 to 1910:
NOTE: I am not writing an authoritative history of corsets, just offering images from one or two sources in the hope that serious researchers will find them helpful. All of these illustrations come from Delineator magazines.
Coming soon: Corsets continue to change from 1910 to 1914.